Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Mission Australia for some Christmas cheer

Merry Christmas!

I know it's a bit late, but I thought I'd let you know I finally got around to buying your Christmas presents!

I was thinking I would donate gift moneys to the Salvos (they do lots of Christmas stuff), but was immensely put off by their values and mission statement. I know they do lots of good stuff, but I couldn't stomach the thought of donating to an organisation whose official primary purpose is evangelising. I do think that evangelism is a great thing for people to go out and do, but not with my money thank you very much.

Mission Australia, on the other hand, is coming from the same sort of religious background (hence being very appropriate for Christmas time), but their official purpose is focussed on looking after people, rather than looking after God. In practice there might not be much difference, and the distinction is only subtle, but it is significant. I don't believe in God, don't forget. Donating to the Salvos would feel like giving money to the Easter Bunny.

The Mission Australia website was also very convincing. They clearly uphold the same kind of respect for accountability and responsible use of resources that I do. The decision, thus, was easy. If you're wondering what you actually got for Christmas, I'll be happy to forward you their annual and financial reports and you can see it for yourself. : )

Merry Christmas!
And a Happy New Year for someone that needs it.


Greetings from planet Earth!

ODO 111k

Well hello there.

I am writing, sadly, from the end of the road. I'm back in Sydney, and the journey therefore, is over.

It's good to be home!

The last leg of the journey was as excellently inspiring as any other, and went surprisingly according to plan. I got from Perth to Sydney in five days, covering 4,900 km, including a 350km 'rest day' in Adelaide.
I did change the plans a little along the way, though. I ended up going through fabulous Esperance on the WA south coust, and all the way around the Eyre Peninsula in SA. I got to Adelaide and decided going to Melbourne first was an unnecessary pain in the arse, coming straight back here to recuperate. The day-by-day showed 1005km - 1180km - 1150km - 350km - 1236km - That last one a new record, my longest day in the saddle! It's good to know, though, that if I'd needed to I could have arisen an hour earlier each day, and would have gotten maybe an extra half hour if I was travelling East to West. The real surprise was that after three odd months of never travelling more than 5-600km in a day, I got to the end of my cross-country jaunt and wanted to keep going! I got home and just couldn't sleep - I haven't felt tired, in fact, since shortly after arriving in Perth. So the body's travelling well.
Next time I ride to WA I think I'll do it in three days, just to prove it's possible.

Just because I travelled it without delay, doesn't mean I didn't enjoy the ride. In fact, the leg reminded me what riding has always been about - being on the road. I've been far too much of a traveller - even often a tourist - on this trip. So concerned about where I'm going to stop, what I'm going to do, and what I can't miss... sure I did a lot of stuff, but next time round I think I'll relax and spend more quality time just coursing with the ebb of the European veins that cross the land.

So many stretches along this last leg are exceptional, just fantastic, totally negating any need to stop to search out attractions. Of course it helps that there isn't anything to stop for, nothing beyond the endless stretches of desert, scrub and coastline, for kilometre after kilometre. 120km/h is standing still when you're on a 147km straight.

The endlessness doesn't imply any lack of variation, however. The only invariant on any stretch is the road - the long, black ribbon, built to specification, slapped onto the land to make it possible to skoot through without regard, the fly through and think just because the road doesn't change, because so few signs of habitation mark the scenery, that the world doesn't either. To make it possible to see more bikes on trailers than actually with riders! As someone who was there, it's incomprehensible why so many people would deprive themselves of the opportunity to cross the Nullarbor. And the Eyre Peninsula! So much to see.

So if you get the chance, don't waste it!

So now I'm here, I'm trying to catch up with the world, trying to enjoy a last little stretch at one home before I move on to the new one. Looking forward to Melbourne very much, looking forward to starting work with VAGO, looking forward to starting something without knowing where it will end. It's a different journey when you don't know that you'll be returning to the beginning again.

Now that I'm back on a computer I can upload photos etc. once again - when I finally track down my USB cable. I admittedly haven't gone to town since my last upload, many weeks ago, but there will be a few shots there for sure.

All that's left now are a few loose ends. I'm looking to finish with this journey, but it's one of those things that you'll never leave behind.

Thanks for sticking with it!


Friday, January 1, 2010

New year, new post - old blog

ODO 106k+


It's been a real bugger not having my laptop to spill my thoughts into - they've been festering and decaying instead in the mess between my ears. I have a lot that I could say but little time to organise it all.

The last month has been great. The obvious highlight has been the company I've kept. I'm still blagging Kenneth and Justine's sofa, and its only their fine company and unquestioning hospitality that keeps me from feeling guilty about it. I've also had the great luck of discovering how awesome my family is, having spent a few days earlier in the month with my uncle down south, then getting lucky and working my way into a long Christmas weekend with them as well. How good is that!? Thoroughly enjoyed my time, and it's been great getting to know the relos, if only briefly. I'm already looking forward to when I can return - whenever that might be.

It won't just be the family I'll be returning for, though. I've left myself a good stretch of the WA south coast still undiscovered, and if my time on it so far is anything to go by it's probably some of the best country around. I got down to Albany (founded a few years before Perth), and was absolutely gobsmacked. Dead-set no competition the most beautiful city of Oz - there are some fantastic places out there, but nothing graced with a genuine CBD (albeit a small one) comes close. It's fantastic! The coast and hills to the West of Albany are barely less charming, and it's not until you get to the more populated and touristed Margaret River and on up the West Coast that you find yourself able to pick your chin up off your tank and recover from a numbing sense of travelling bliss. It's just great down south, and with world-famous beaches (while cold), wineries, a couple of startling mountain ranges, gorgeous heath and towering Karri and Marri trees... summer sunshine but alpine breezes - it's really somewhere you could spend a lot of time exploring. But alas! - that will have to wait for sometime in the future.

I have finally gotten myself sorted to return. My bike is legal (and even ADR compliant!), with it's shiny new 'gull wing' WA plates, everything is packed and ready to go - only my extended New Years' Day recovery prevented me from leaving this afternoon. The registration story is a long one - the whole experience was impossibly arduous, mind-numbing and irritating nearly to the point of defeat. I would never have thought that the hardest part of a round-Oz trip would be a relatively straightforward administrative act. Hardest by far. BY FAR. And perhaps the most irritating part is the fact that if I'd known it was possible I could have gotten WA plates a month ago and renewed my rego then - no inspection, no drama, nothing. If only!

With that behind me I'm now looking forward to 2010. Happy New Year! And yes, looking at the title of this page I'll be signing off this blog soon enough, if all too soon. It's sad for the journey to be coming to an end - though it means the start of something else entirely, and certainly nothing any less exciting. I have in my inbox my invitation for the introductory morning tea for my new job with the Victorian Auditor General's. February 1st - just around the corner!

The closeness of the date means a pretty swift return to Sydney from here on. Esperance is out (WA South Coast), sadly, and I'll be hooning across the Nullarbor without much delay. SA will be a brief roll off the throttle, and I'm planning on swinging by Melbourne to look at rooms to rent, before heading back to Sydney to gather myself before moving down for good. For good!

I'll post you an update when the dust has settled to let you know how the final leg went. I'll also be getting around, sometime, to sorting out this year's 'Christmas present' - all the money from all the presents I didn't want to buy for everyone going to charity. My blogging started last year with a toy run post (on 2009-motorcyclist, though), and it'll be fitting to finish it off with this year's edition. So you do have a few updates to look forward to!

And yes, if I can think of a topic I'll be firing up a blog for next year. I've enjoyed having this around, though I'M GETTING FAR TOO FEW COMMENTS *cough*. It's been good people telling me they've read parts of it, though - thank you for your feedback, and for sticking with my rambling lines!

All the best with the new year you have laid out before you - may you make of it what you wish, and may the Gods of luck smile kindly on your efforts.